River Deep, Mountain High

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap

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Jul 21 2013

The Catch-22 of Teach For America

[Click here to read: Teach For America Isn't Perfect, but it Has Been a Boost to Education] I haven’t posted here in over four months, but I wanted to share some thoughts from all the TFA hoopla as of late. There are some great articles out there providing perspective on the escalating debate over whether…

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Feb 09 2013

Where Have All the Bloggers Gone?

I recently read Gary Rubinstein’s post entitled: “The Silence of the (Sacrificial) Lambs” and immediately thought back to the classic Paula Cole hit, “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” In the past month, his post has generated nearly 100 comments, many from defensive or offended corps members; some of the more insightful comments come from…

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Sep 30 2012

Teach For A Profit?

Quick thoughts on two tweets I saw the other day about Teach For America’s finances. The first compares TFA’s revenue and expenses for 2011 . The second tweet looks at the incomes of TFA CEO Wendy Kopp and her husband Richard Barth, CEO of KIPP. I had issues with the implicit message of both tweets.…

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Sep 23 2012

American Dream O.N.

Last week, I attended the second Opportunity Nation Summit in our nation’s capital, where many prominent movers and shakers gathered to reassess the challenges plaguing the legacy of social mobility evoked by the “American Dream.” We recognize that the challenges are immense, but I left the conference with a renewed sense of purpose and the…

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Aug 08 2012

Money Trail: How Poverty Limits Opportunity

Certain segments of the population are fond of citing irresponsibility and poor choices as the primary driver behind the lack of opportunity for poor households. A few months ago, one article began claiming that people didn’t need welfare because they had microwaves and TVs! Often, the general public takes such claims at face value because…

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May 28 2012

Red Badge of Service

“He suddenly lost concern for himself, and forgot to look at a menacing fate. He became not a man but a member. He felt that something of which he was a part—a regiment, an army, a cause, or a country—was in a crisis. He was welded into a common personality which was dominated by a…

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May 20 2012

My Biggest Lessons from TFA

In the process of completing my end-of-the-year survey for Teach for America, I came across the following question and wanted to share my answer: “What are the two or three biggest lessons you’re taking away from your corps experience? These could be lessons about your students, yourself, the community where you work, the achievement gap…

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We all fail when we focus on blaming teachers on the one hand and blaming poor students and their families on the other. As reformers, “Rheeformers,” anti-reformers, unionists, etc continue to fight amongst ourselves, we neglect to answer one important question: who are we letting off the hook? The Law of the Excluded Middle states:…

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Dec 11 2011

TFA’s Master Plan?

TFA, do better. In many ways I love TFA. I love its ideals and its mission resonates with me. If TFA wants to promote best practices and truly work towards attacking root causes of education inequity, then sign me up for the long haul. However, if TFA is in the business of turning public schools into alternative schools no one wants to teach at while incubating charters, I want no part of that movement. I want to help, but what am I helping?

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Nov 11 2011

“I Don’t Have a Science Teacher…”

I’m dismayed and more than a little upset because I saw a former student at the game who scored the highest on the 8th grade science test last year. As I congratulated her, I asked: “Who’s your biology teacher?” Her response: “oh, I don’t have one. We have a long-term substitute.”

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! This, ladies and gentlemen, is the achievement gap. This is why Teach For America exists…

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Nov 06 2011

Of Neutrinos and Opportunities

Thanks to the Opportunity Nation campaign, which brought together leading organizations and individuals across sectors to collaborate in the fight for a better America, I had an amazing time at the summit; from engaging with ambitious ideas to combat income inequality and networking with like-minded scholars over delicious soul food, to catching up with former colleagues from ServiceNation, and even having the opportunity to meet Wendy Kopp, the Founder and CEO of Teach For America. However, I’m left wondering what hope is there for the Mississippi Delta?

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Sep 11 2011

Still Standing (Why I Didn’t Quit, Pt. 1)

For first years who are struggling and on the verge of leaving their position as I was this time last year, find someone with whom you can relate to and share your hopes and dreams…the sooner you stop asking: “why me? What did I do to deserve this?” and, instead, start asking: “why them? What did my students do to deserve this?” the sooner you’ll regain the pragmatic, if not optimistic mindset you need to affect real change in your community.

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About this Blog

Remove Barriers, Raise the Bar

Region
Mississippi Delta
Grade
Middle School
Subject
Science

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